Four Ways To Save Money At The Best Hotel in Tanzania

Hoorah, here we are at what must be the best hotel in Tanzania, the Residence Zanzibar. I spotted this little gem months ago when I was investigating options for our upcoming trip to the Spice Island. At the time, the cost for five nights was over £2,500 and although I was prepared for a little indulgence on this trip, £500 plus a night is too painful for me! I have a pension to fund for god’s sake!

Residence Zanzibar sailing
Residence Zanzibar sailing

I eventually booked the hotel for £1632.91 for six nights on a half board basis. This certainly isn’t bargain bucket, so with that in mind, here are a few tips to help you save money on a stay at the Residence Zanzibar in exotic Tanzania.

Get a discount on your hotel room

This price included a 10% discount using a voucher. Register for for free using this link, book a stay and you will also start to earn discount vouchers.

Furthermore, you will earn one free night stay for even ten you stay, regardless of hotel chain.

Residence Zanzibar villas
The fabulous bedroom in our pool villa

Getting around

Do not book the hotel transfer. We were quoted US $124 by the Residence for a one way transfer to the airport. Instead, we booked an airport transfer online with Suntransfer for the following price:

  • Airport to Doubletree Hilton Stone town – €14.40
  • Residence Zanzibar to the airport – €40.97

Taxis are cheaper still if you arrange them in person. In Stonetown, it seems every other person owns a taxi, so you are in a great position to negotiate. Online, Stonetown to Kimikaze costs around $60, but in person we got the same journey for just $40.

Food and drink

We opted for an half board package at the Residence, knowing that it was in a isolated position. We rarely eat lunch on vacation, and with three courses each evening, we are hardly going to starve.

Residence Zanzibar dining room
Residence Zanzibar dining room

Plentiful drinking water is provided in your room, so your only extras will be alcoholic beverages and any other snacks. Water is chargeable in the restaurant, so take the bottles from your room to keep costs down. A bottle of sparkling water costs $10, and large Kilimanjaro beers are $7 a pop.

I highly recommend drinking the wine however, which costs Just $7 for a large glass of the fantastic Spier wine. I loved this wine so much, I ordered a full case of it from South Africa when we returned!

Residence Zanzibar drinks at sunset
Residence Zanzibar drinks at sunset


Avoid booking trips through your hotel as you will pay a significant premium. In our hotel, a dolphin trip was $80.

Instead, have a chat with one of the guys walking up and down the beach, and you can book the same trip for $50 a head. Or, take advantage of the on site facilities to play tennis, sail or kayak and save your pennies. I was so desperate for a break on this trip that I had no desire to leave!

Why must the Residence be the best hotel in Tanzania?

This resort is the best hotel I’ve EVER stayed in, so surely it must be the best in Tanzania. Read ‘Discover Heaven on Earth at the Residence Zanzibar’ to find out why. I’ve stayed in some pretty amazing places, but everything about this hotel surpasses them all.

Yes, it even beats my honeymoon and that was bloody amazing. I’m sure some of you will argue that other hotels are the best in Tanzania, and I’d love to hear about them too. I’m already planning my return trip, but unless someone can convince me otherwise, I will be heading back to the Residence Zanzibar.

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About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. Nice tips for saving some serious bucks! We also found a real gem from Zanzibar, stating it one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed. Our fav is located on the other side of Zanzibar, on a paradise beach called Bwejuu. I think it’s worth to splurge if you’re heading to Zanzibar, whatever your preferences are. I’m happy that you found your paradise, I’d love to pop in Residence Zanzibar, as well, but would give my money to Baraza, again! In matters of taste, there can be no disputes 😉

  2. Great tip on not booking a hotel transfer. That’s one area that people can often book and not need to. $10 for Sparkling water= wow! It does pay to shop around a little bit.

  3. I totally agree that booking through your accommodation can be (usually is) a total rip off. We always get a quote from our accommodation and then go out searching. Every so often it’s the standard rate. The Residence looks absolutely stunning and I’m now off to read exactly why it’s the best hotel you’ve ever stayed at – quite a compliment from a blogger, it must be wonderful!

  4. Thanks for these tips. It’s horrible how they charge you so much for the hotel transfer. OMG. Good thing you found some alternatives. And why does water cost so much?? I guess despite everything, you found it a good experience, since you said it’s the best hotel in Tanzania. Would love to try them out someday!

  5. Residence Zanzibar looks like the ultimate chill out place to hit up and relax. Hoping to be here next year so might check this place out 🙂

  6. The view of the water and the hotel room look gorgeous. Tanzania has inched its way up on my bucket list because of posts like these! Thanks for the tips on It’s always nice to be earning benefits when not earning or using hotel points. And, free drinking water is always a major plus for us! My husband needs a budget just for this when we travel.

  7. Residence Zanzibar looks lovely! Very helpful post. I’ll refer to this when I visit Tanzania.

  8. The prices are indeed a bit too much for our pockets, but I appreciate that you gave so many options that one can use to lower them a bit! 10% on the total isn’t a bag of chips, so I’d take that! Besides, the fact that they offer free drinking water is a blessing, with the hot weater I think one would spend so much in buying drinks!

  9. Tanzania sounds like an amazing destination and this hotel looks pretty spectacular and I’m sure you can spend a lot when you are isolated in a resort with not that many choices. Great tips on how to save money this way.

  10. Wow, this hotel sounds absolutely amazing – I’ve always wanted to go to Tanzania as well so will keep it bookmarked for (hopefully!) my future trip! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  11. It sounds like you used your brain to save money wherever you could on this luxury holiday. I’m like that too. I love boutique hotels but shop around for savings and ways to cut the cost without the luxury. Great post, I can’t believe how expensive the water was!

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